CORNWALL, Ontario – As a part of the province wide shutdown that began on Dec. 26, 2020 to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, elementary school students were to return to class in a remote learning capacity only on Monday, Jan. 4. Students were expected to return to in-class lessons on Jan. 11. The province has now announced that it is extending remote learning for elementary students until Jan. 25.
“With the public health trends where they are across the province, our priority remains keeping students, teachers, school staff, and all Ontarians safe,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “That’s why we’re extending the remote learning period for students in Southern Ontario and the shutdown period for Northern Ontario, while continuing to provide financial relief for parents through the Support for Learners program as well as electricity rate relief for all time-of-use customers. We have to get the numbers down and today’s measures will help us continue to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
The province cited the increase in COVID-19 positivity amongst elementary school-aged children as a mitigating factor in the decision. According to the province the positivity rate for COVID-19 in elementary school-aged children before Christmas was 5.44 per cent, and that that number has now jumped to 20 per cent.
“I have and remain firmly committed to getting students back into class as soon as possible – there is nothing more important. However, the best medical and scientific experts have been clear: while schools have been safe places for kids, the sharp rise in community transmission puts that progress and Ontario families at risk,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “During this time, students will remain engaged in live teacher-led online learning with access to enhanced mental health and technology supports.”